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1.  Role of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Type 1 Envelope in the Anti-HIV Activity of the Betulinic Acid Derivative IC9564 
The betulinic acid derivative IC9564 is a potent anti-human immunodeficiency virus (anti-HIV) compound that can inhibit both HIV primary isolates and laboratory-adapted strains. However, this compound did not affect the replication of simian immunodeficiency virus and respiratory syncytial virus. Results from a syncytium formation assay indicated that IC9564 blocked HIV type 1 (HIV-1) envelope-mediated membrane fusion. Analysis of a chimeric virus derived from exchanging envelope regions between IC9564-sensitive and IC9564-resistant viruses indicated that regions within gp120 and the N-terminal 25 amino acids (fusion domain) of gp41 are key determinants for the drug sensitivity. By developing a drug-resistant mutant from the NL4-3 virus, two mutations were found within the gp120 region and one was found within the gp41 region. The mutations are G237R and R252K in gp120 and R533A in the fusion domain of gp41. The mutations were reintroduced into the NL4-3 envelope and analyzed for their role in IC9564 resistance. Both of the gp120 mutations contributed to the drug sensitivity. On the contrary, the gp41 mutation (R533A) did not appear to affect the IC9564 sensitivity. These results suggest that HIV-1 gp120 plays a key role in the anti-HIV-1 activity of IC9564.
PMCID: PMC90240  PMID: 11120945
2.  Anti-AIDS Agents 78 †. Design, Synthesis, Metabolic Stability Assessment, and Antiviral Evaluation of Novel Betulinic Acid Derivatives as Potent Anti-Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Agents 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2009;52(10):3248-3258.
In a continuing study of potent anti-HIV agents, seventeen 28,30-disubstituted betulinic acid (BA, 1) derivatives, as well as seven novel 3,28-disubstituted BA analogs were designed, synthesized, and evaluated for in vitro antiviral activity. Among them, compound 21 showed an improved solubility and equal anti-HIV potency (EC50: 0.09 μM), when compared to HIV entry inhibitors 3b (IC9564) and 4 (A43-D). Using a cyclic secondary amine to form the C-28 amide bond increased the metabolic stability of the derivatives significantly in pooled human liver microsomes. The most potent compounds 47 and 48 displayed potent anti-HIV activity with EC50 values of 0.007 μM and 0.006 μM, respectively. These results are slightly better than that of bevirimat (2), which is currently in Phase IIb clinical trials. Compounds 47 and 48 should serve as attractive promising leads to develop next generation, metabolically stable, 3,28-disubstituted bifunctional HIV-1 inhibitors as clinical trials candidates.
PMCID: PMC2736638  PMID: 19388685
3.  TAK-652 Inhibits CCR5-Mediated Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Infection In Vitro and Has Favorable Pharmacokinetics in Humans 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2005;49(11):4584-4591.
The first small-molecule CCR5 antagonist, TAK-779, could not be developed as an anti-human immunodeficiency virus type (anti-HIV-1) agent because of its poor oral bioavailability. TAK-652 is an orally bioavailable TAK-779 derivative with potent anti-HIV-1 activity. TAK-652 inhibited the binding of RANTES (regulated on activation, normal T-cell expressed and secreted), macrophage inflammatory protein 1α (MIP-1α), and MIP-1β to CCR5-expressing cells at nanomolar concentrations. TAK-652 could also suppress the binding of monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP-1) to CCR2b-expressing cells. However, its inhibitory effect on ligand binding to other chemokine receptors was limited. TAK-652 was active against CCR5-using (R5) HIV-1 but totally inactive against CXCR4-using (X4) HIV-1. The compound was active against R5 HIV-1 clinical isolates containing reverse transcriptase and protease inhibitor-resistant mutations, with a mean 50% effective concentration (EC50) and EC90 of 0.061 and 0.25 nM, respectively. In addition, recombinant R5 viruses carrying different subtype (A to G) envelope proteins were equally susceptible to TAK-652. A single oral administration of TAK-652 up to 100 mg was safe and well tolerated in humans. The compound displayed favorable pharmacokinetics, and its plasma concentration was 7.2 ng/ml (9.1 nM) even 24 h after the administration of 25 mg. Thus, TAK-652 is a promising candidate as a novel entry inhibitor of HIV-1.
PMCID: PMC1280155  PMID: 16251299
4.  Potent, Broad-Spectrum Inhibition of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 by the CCR5 Monoclonal Antibody PRO 140 
Journal of Virology  2001;75(2):579-588.
CCR5 serves as a requisite fusion coreceptor for clinically relevant strains of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and provides a promising target for antiviral therapy. However, no study to date has examined whether monoclonal antibodies, small molecules, or other nonchemokine agents possess broad-spectrum activity against the major genetic subtypes of HIV-1. PRO 140 (PA14) is an anti-CCR5 monoclonal antibody that potently inhibits HIV-1 entry at concentrations that do not affect CCR5's chemokine receptor activity. In this study, PRO 140 was tested against a panel of primary HIV-1 isolates selected for their genotypic and geographic diversity. In quantitative assays of viral infectivity, PRO 140 was compared with RANTES, a natural CCR5 ligand that can inhibit HIV-1 entry by receptor downregulation as well as receptor blockade. Despite their divergent mechanisms of action and binding epitopes on CCR5, low nanomolar concentrations of both PRO 140 and RANTES inhibited infection of primary peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) by all CCR5-using (R5) viruses tested. This is consistent with there being a highly restricted pattern of CCR5 usage by R5 viruses. In addition, a panel of 25 subtype C South African R5 viruses were broadly inhibited by PRO 140, RANTES, and TAK-779, although ∼30-fold-higher concentrations of the last compound were required. Interestingly, significant inhibition of a dualtropic subtype C virus was also observed. Whereas PRO 140 potently inhibited HIV-1 replication in both PBMC and primary macrophages, RANTES exhibited limited antiviral activity in macrophage cultures. Thus CCR5-targeting agents such as PRO 140 can demonstrate potent and genetic-subtype-independent anti-HIV-1 activity.
PMCID: PMC113953  PMID: 11134270
5.  Glycoside analogues of β-galactosylceramide, a novel class of small molecule antiviral agents that inhibit HIV-1 entry 
Antiviral research  2008;80(1):54-61.
The interaction between HIV gp120 and galactose-containing cell surface glycolipids such as GalCer or Gb3 are known to facilitate HIV binding to both CD4+ as well as CD4− cells. In an effort to develop small molecule HIV-1 entry inhibitors with improved solubility and efficacy, we have synthesized a series of C glycoside analogs of GalCer and tested their anti HIV-1 activity. The analogs were tested for gp120 binding using a HIV-1 (IIIB) V3-loop specific peptide. Two of the six analogs that interfered with gp120 binding also inhibited HIV Env-mediated cell-to-cell fusion and viral entry in the absence of any significant cytotoxicity. Analogues with two side chains did not show inhibition of fusion and/or infection under identical conditions. The inhibition of virus infection seen by these compounds was not coreceptor dependent, as they inhibited CXCR4, CCR5 as well as dual tropic viruses. These compounds showed inhibition of HIV entry at early steps in viral infection since the compounds were inactive if added post viral entry. Temperature-arrested state experiments showed that the compounds act at the level of virus attachment to the cells likely at a pre CD4 engagement step. These compounds also showed inhibition of VSV glycoprotein-pseudotyped virus. The results presented here show that the glycoside derivatives of GalCer with simple side chains may serve as a novel class of small molecule HIV-1 entry inhibitors that would be active against a number of HIV isolates as well as other enveloped viruses.
PMCID: PMC2614335  PMID: 18538869
HIV-1; Galactosyl Ceramide; Glycosides; Anti HIV; Fusion; Envelope glycoprotein
6.  Electron Tomography of the Contact between T Cells and SIV/HIV-1: Implications for Viral Entry 
PLoS Pathogens  2007;3(5):e63.
The envelope glycoproteins of primate lentiviruses, including human and simian immunodeficiency viruses (HIV and SIV), are heterodimers of a transmembrane glycoprotein (usually gp41), and a surface glycoprotein (gp120), which binds CD4 on target cells to initiate viral entry. We have used electron tomography to determine the three-dimensional architectures of purified SIV virions in isolation and in contact with CD4+ target cells. The trimeric viral envelope glycoprotein surface spikes are heterogeneous in appearance and typically ∼120 Å long and ∼120 Å wide at the distal end. Docking of SIV or HIV-1 on the T cell surface occurs via a neck-shaped contact region that is ∼400 Å wide and consistently consists of a closely spaced cluster of five to seven rod-shaped features, each ∼100 Å long and ∼100 Å wide. This distinctive structure is not observed when viruses are incubated with T lymphocytes in the presence of anti-CD4 antibodies, the CCR5 antagonist TAK779, or the peptide entry inhibitor SIVmac251 C34. For virions bound to cells, few trimers were observed away from this cluster at the virion–cell interface, even in cases where virus preparations showing as many as 70 envelope glycoprotein trimers per virus particle were used. This contact zone, which we term the “entry claw”, provides a spatial context to understand the molecular mechanisms of viral entry. Determination of the molecular composition and structure of the entry claw may facilitate the identification of improved drugs for the inhibition of HIV-1 entry.
Author Summary
Retroviruses such as simian immunodeficiency virus and HIV-1 enter target cells by exploiting the interaction between their surface glycoproteins and cell surface receptors. Knowledge of the structures of these glycoproteins and of the molecular details of their interaction with cell surface receptors is of fundamental interest in understanding viral entry mechanisms. Electron tomo-graphy is a powerful approach to determining the three-dimensional structures of large and heterogeneous sub-cellular assemblies such as virus–cell contact regions that cannot easily be analyzed by high-resolution structural methods such as X-ray crystallography. Here, we have used electron tomographic approaches to show that SIV and HIV-1 viruses make contact with T cells via a unique structure that we term the viral “entry claw”, which is typically composed of about six clustered rods of density that span the contact region. Investigation of the structure of the entry claw and the factors that promote its formation could lead to new insights into the design of more effective drugs to inhibit HIV entry.
PMCID: PMC1864992  PMID: 17480119
7.  Kinetic Factors Control Efficiencies of Cell Entry, Efficacies of Entry Inhibitors, and Mechanisms of Adaptation of Human Immunodeficiency Virus†  
Journal of Virology  2005;79(7):4347-4356.
Replication of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in diverse conditions limiting for viral entry into cells frequently leads to adaptive mutations in the V3 loop of the gp120 envelope glycoprotein. This has suggested that the V3 loop limits the efficiencies of HIV-1 infections, possibly by directly affecting gp120-coreceptor affinities. In contrast, V3 loop mutations that enable HIV-1JR-CSF to use the low-affinity mutant coreceptor CCR5(Y14N) are shown here to have negligible effects on the virus-coreceptor affinity but to dramatically accelerate the irreversible conformational conversion of the envelope gp41 subunits from a three-stranded coil into a six-helix bundle. This slow step is blocked irreversibly by the inhibitor T-20. To further evaluate the role of entry rates in controlling infection efficiencies and viral adaptations, we developed methods to quantitatively measure viral entry kinetics. The virions were adsorbed by spinoculation at 4°C onto HeLa-CD4/CCR5 cell clones that either had limiting or saturating concentrations of CCR5. After warming to 37°C, the completion of entry was monitored over time by the resistance of infections to the competitive CCR5 inhibitor TAK-779. Our results suggest that the efficiency of entry of cell-attached infectious HIV-1 is principally controlled by three kinetic processes. The first is a lag phase that is caused in part by the concentration-dependent reversible association of virus with CD4 and CCR5 to form an equilibrium assemblage of complexes. Second, this assembly step lowers but does not eliminate a large activation energy barrier for a rate-limiting, CCR5-dependent conformational change in gp41 that is sensitive to blockage by T-20. The rate of infection therefore depends on the fraction of infectious virions that are sufficiently saturated with CCR5 to undergo this conformational change and on the magnitude of the activation energy barrier. Although only a small fraction of fully assembled viral complexes overcome this barrier per hour, the ensuing steps of entry are rapidly completed within 5 to 10 min. Thus, this barrier limits the overall flow rate at which the attached virions enter cells, but it has no effect on the lag time that precedes this entry flow. Third, a relatively rapid and kinetically dominant process of viral inactivation, which may partly involve endocytosis, competes with infectious viral entry. Our results suggest that the V3 loop of gp120 has a major effect on the rate-limiting coreceptor-dependent conformational change in gp41 and that adaptive viral mutations, including V3 loop mutations, function kinetically by accelerating this inherently slow step in the entry pathway.
PMCID: PMC1061535  PMID: 15767435
8.  Regional Clustering of Shared Neutralization Determinants on Primary Isolates of Clade C Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 from South Africa 
Journal of Virology  2002;76(5):2233-2244.
Clade C is one of the most prevalent genetic subtypes of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in the world today and one of the least studied with respect to neutralizing antibodies. Most information on HIV-1 serology as it relates to neutralization is derived from clade B. Clade C primary isolates of HIV-1 from South Africa and Malawi were shown here to resemble clade B isolates in their resistance to inhibition by soluble CD4 and their sensitivity to neutralization by human monoclonal antibody immunoglobulin G1b12 and, to a lesser extent, 2F5. Unlike clade B isolates, however, all 16 clade C isolates examined resisted neutralization by 2G12. Infection with clade C HIV-1 in a cohort of female sex workers in South Africa generated antibodies that neutralized the autologous clade C isolate and T-cell-line-adapted (TCLA) strains of clade B. Neutralization of clade B TCLA strains was much more sensitive to the presence of autologous gp120 V3 loop peptides compared to the neutralization of clade C isolates in most cases. Thus, the native structure of gp120 on primary isolates of clade C will likely pose a challenge for neutralizing antibody induction by candidate HIV-1 vaccines much the same as it has for clade B. The autologous neutralizing antibody response following primary infection with clade C HIV-1 in South Africa matured slowly, requiring at least 4 to 5 months to become detectable. Once detectable, extensive cross-neutralization of heterologous clade C isolates from South Africa was observed, suggesting an unusual degree of shared neutralization determinants at a regional level. This high frequency of cross-neutralization differed significantly from the ability of South African clade C serum samples to neutralize clade B isolates but did not differ significantly from results of other combinations of clade B and C reagents tested in checkerboard assays. Notably, two clade C serum samples obtained after less than 2 years of infection neutralized a broad spectrum of clade B and C isolates. Other individual serum samples showed a significant clade preference in their neutralizing activity. Our results suggest that clades B and C are each comprised of multiple neutralization serotypes, some of which are more clade specific than others. The clustering of shared neutralization determinants on clade C primary HIV-1 isolates from South Africa suggests that neutralizing antibodies induced by vaccines will have less epitope diversity to overcome at a regional level.
PMCID: PMC135941  PMID: 11836401
9.  Differential Inhibition of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Fusion, gp120 Binding, and CC-Chemokine Activity by Monoclonal Antibodies to CCR5 
Journal of Virology  1999;73(5):4145-4155.
The CC-chemokine receptor CCR5 mediates fusion and entry of the most commonly transmitted human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) strains. We have isolated six new anti-CCR5 murine monoclonal antibodies (MAbs), designated PA8, PA9, PA10, PA11, PA12, and PA14. A panel of CCR5 alanine point mutants was used to map the epitopes of these MAbs and the previously described MAb 2D7 to specific amino acid residues in the N terminus and/or second extracellular loop regions of CCR5. This structural information was correlated with the MAbs’ abilities to inhibit (i) HIV-1 entry, (ii) HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein-mediated membrane fusion, (iii) gp120 binding to CCR5, and (iv) CC-chemokine activity. Surprisingly, there was no correlation between the ability of a MAb to inhibit HIV-1 fusion-entry and its ability to inhibit either the binding of a gp120-soluble CD4 complex to CCR5 or CC-chemokine activity. MAbs PA9 to PA12, whose epitopes include residues in the CCR5 N terminus, strongly inhibited gp120 binding but only moderately inhibited HIV-1 fusion and entry and had no effect on RANTES-induced calcium mobilization. MAbs PA14 and 2D7, the most potent inhibitors of HIV-1 entry and fusion, were less effective at inhibiting gp120 binding and were variably potent at inhibiting RANTES-induced signaling. With respect to inhibiting HIV-1 entry and fusion, PA12 but not PA14 was potently synergistic when used in combination with 2D7, RANTES, and CD4-immunoglobulin G2, which inhibits HIV-1 attachment. The data support a model wherein HIV-1 entry occurs in three stages: receptor (CD4) binding, coreceptor (CCR5) binding, and coreceptor-mediated membrane fusion. The antibodies described will be useful for further dissecting these events.
PMCID: PMC104194  PMID: 10196311
10.  Bifunctional Anti-Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Small Molecules with Two Novel Mechanisms of Action 
A class of betulinic acid derivatives was synthesized to target two critical steps in the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) replication cycle, entry and maturation. Each mechanism of HIV-1 inhibition is distinct from clinically available anti-HIV therapeutics. The viral determinants of the antientry and antimaturation activities are the bridging sheet of HIV-1 gp120 and the P24/p2 cleavage site, respectively.
PMCID: PMC321552  PMID: 14742233
11.  CD4-Specific Designed Ankyrin Repeat Proteins Are Novel Potent HIV Entry Inhibitors with Unique Characteristics 
PLoS Pathogens  2008;4(7):e1000109.
Here, we describe the generation of a novel type of HIV entry inhibitor using the recently developed Designed Ankyrin Repeat Protein (DARPin) technology. DARPin proteins specific for human CD4 were selected from a DARPin DNA library using ribosome display. Selected pool members interacted specifically with CD4 and competed with gp120 for binding to CD4. DARPin proteins derived in the initial selection series inhibited HIV in a dose-dependent manner, but showed a relatively high variability in their capacity to block replication of patient isolates on primary CD4 T cells. In consequence, a second series of CD4-specific DARPins with improved affinity for CD4 was generated. These 2nd series DARPins potently inhibit infection of genetically divergent (subtype B and C) HIV isolates in the low nanomolar range, independent of coreceptor usage. Importantly, the actions of the CD4 binding DARPins were highly specific: no effect on cell viability or activation, CD4 memory cell function, or interference with CD4-independent virus entry was observed. These novel CD4 targeting molecules described here combine the unique characteristics of DARPins—high physical stability, specificity and low production costs—with the capacity to potently block HIV entry, rendering them promising candidates for microbicide development.
Author Summary
There is an increasing need to develop inhibitors of HIV entry into target cells for both application in therapy and prevention. The development of specific HIV inhibitors as microbicides, agents that by topical application prevent infection, is considered particularly important in limiting the spread of HIV in the absence of effective vaccines. To derive highly potent and specific inhibitors of HIV entry for potential use as microbicide, we employed the recently developed Designed Ankyrin Repeat Protein technology. Using this technique, Designed Ankyrin Repeat Proteins can be evolved that bind their target molecules as specifically and efficiently as antibodies. In the present study, we generated a panel of Designed Ankyrin Repeat Proteins that bind specifically to the cellular CD4 receptor, the main entry receptor of HIV. The obtained proteins are very potent and highly specific inhibitors of HIV entry and provide a broad reactivity against genetically different virus strains. Due to the high physical stability of Designed Ankyrin Repeat Proteins and their low cost production, these novel HIV entry inhibitors represent promising candidates for microbicide development.
PMCID: PMC2453315  PMID: 18654624
12.  Synthesis of Betulinic Acid Derivatives as Entry Inhibitors against HIV-1 and Bevirimat-Resistant HIV-1 Variants 
Betulinic acid derivatives modified at the C28 position are HIV-1entry inhibitors such as compound A43D; however, modified at the C3 position instead of C28 give HIV-1 maturation inhibitor such as bevirimat. Bevirimat exhibited promising pharmacokinetic profiles in clinical trials, but its effectiveness was compromised by the high baseline drug resistance of HIV-1 variants with polymorphism in the putative drug binding site. In an effort to determine whether the viruses with bevirimat resistant polymorphism also altered their sensitivities to the betulinic acid derivatives that inhibit HIV-1 entry, a series of new betulinic acid entry inhibitors were synthesized and tested for their activities against HIV-1 NL4-3 and NL4-3 variants resistant to bevirimat. The results show that the bevirimat resistant viruses were approximately 5- to10-fold more sensitive to three new glutamine ester derivatives (13, 15 and 38) and A43D in an HIV-1 multi-cycle replication assay. In contrast, the wild type NL4-3 and the bevirimat resistant variants were equally sensitive to the HIV-1 RT inhibitor AZT. In addition, these three new compounds markedly improved microsomal stability compared to A43D.
PMCID: PMC3426442  PMID: 22818973
HIV-1; Entry inhibitor; Maturation inhibitor; Betulinic acid; Berivimat; Berivimat-resistance
13.  Structure-Based Design and Synthesis of an HIV-1 Entry Inhibitor Exploiting X-ray and Thermodynamic Characterization 
ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters  2013;4(3):338-343.
The design, synthesis, thermodynamic and crystallographic characterization of a potent, broad spectrum, second-generation HIV-1 entry inhibitor that engages conserved carbonyl hydrogen bonds within gp120 has been achieved. The optimized antagonist exhibits a submicromolar binding affinity (110 nM) and inhibits viral entry of clade B and C viruses (IC50 geometric mean titer of 1.7 and 14.0 μM, respectively), without promoting CD4-independent viral entry. The thermodynamic signatures indicate a binding preference for the (R,R)- over the (S,S)-enantiomer. The crystal structure of the small-molecule/gp120 complex reveals the displacement of crystallographic water and the formation of a hydrogen bond with a backbone carbonyl of the bridging sheet. Thus, structure-based design and synthesis targeting the highly conserved and structurally characterized CD4–gp120 interface is an effective tactic to enhance the neutralization potency of small-molecule HIV-1 entry inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC3647702  PMID: 23667716
HIV; gp120; CD4; entry inhibitor; structure-based drug design; thermodynamics; X-ray crystallography; viral inhibition; protein−protein interactions
14.  UCLA1, a Synthetic Derivative of a gp120 RNA Aptamer, Inhibits Entry of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Subtype C 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(9):4989-4999.
Entry of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) into cells is mediated by the virion surface envelope (Env) glycoproteins, making it a desirable target for antiretroviral entry inhibitors. We previously isolated a family of gp120 binding RNA aptamers and showed that they neutralized the infectivity of HIV-1. In this study, we assessed the activity of a shortened synthetic derivative of the B40 aptamer, called UCLA1, against a large panel of HIV-1 subtype C viruses. UCLA1 tightly bound to a consensus HIV-1 subtype C gp120 and neutralized isolates of the same subtype with 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50s) in the nanomolar range. The aptamer had little toxicity in tests with cell lines and primary cells. Furthermore, it exhibited high therapeutic indices, suggesting that it may be effective at very low doses. Mapping of UCLA1 binding sites on gp120 revealed eight amino acid residues that modulated neutralization resistance. This included residues within the coreceptor binding site, at the base of the V3 loop, and in the bridging sheet within the conserved V1/V2 stem-loop of gp120. The aptamer was also shown to have synergistic effects with T20, a gp41 fusion inhibitor, and IgG1b12 (b12), an anti-CD4 binding site monoclonal antibody. These results suggest that UCLA1 may be suitable for development as a potent HIV-1 entry inhibitor.
PMCID: PMC3347371  PMID: 22379083
15.  Virucidal Activity of the Dendrimer Microbicide SPL7013 Against HIV-1 
Antiviral research  2011;90(3):195-199.
Topical microbicides for use by women to prevent the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other sexually transmitted infections are urgently required. Dendrimers are highly branched nanoparticles being developed as microbicides. SPL7013 is a dendrimer with broad-spectrum activity against HIV type I (HIV-1) and -2 (HIV-2), herpes simplex viruses type-1 (HSV-1) and -2 (HSV-2) and human papillomavirus. SPL7013 [3% (w/w)] has been formulated in a mucoadhesive carbopol gel (VivaGel®) for use as a topical microbicide. Previous studies showed that SPL7013 has similar potency against CXCR4- (X4) and CCR5-using (R5) strains of HIV-1 and that it blocks viral entry. However, the ability of SPL7013 to directly inactivate HIV-1 is unknown. We examined whether SPL7013 demonstrates virucidal activity against X4 (NL4.3, MBC200, CMU02 clade EA and 92UG046 clade D), R5 (Ba-L, NB25 and 92RW016 clade A) and dual-tropic (R5X4; MACS1-spln) HIV-1 using a modified HLA-DR viral capture method and by polyethylene glycol precipitation. Evaluation of virion integrity was determined by ultracentrifugation through a sucrose cushion and detection of viral proteins by Western blot analysis. SPL7013 demonstrated potent virucidal activity against X4 and R5X4 strains, although virucidal activity was less potent for the 92UG046 X4 clade D isolate. Where potent virucidal activity was observed, the 50% virucidal concentrations were similar to the 50% effective concentrations previously reported in drug susceptibility assays, indicating that the main mode of action of SPL7013 is by direct viral inactivation for these strains. In contrast, SPL7013 lacked potent virucidal activity against R5 HIV-1 strains. Evaluation of the virucidal mechanism showed that SPL7013-treated NL4.3, 92UG046 and MACS1-spln virions were intact with no significant decrease in gp120 surface protein with respect to p24 capsid content compared to the corresponding untreated virus. These studies demonstrate that SPL7013 is virucidal against HIV-1 strains that utilize the CXCR4 coreceptor but not viruses tested in this study that solely use CCR5 by a mechanism that is distinct from virion disruption or loss of gp120. In addition, the mode of action by which SPL7013 prevents infection of cells with X4 and R5X4 strains is likely to differ from R5 strains of HIV-1
PMCID: PMC3115201  PMID: 21459115
Dendrimer; microbicide; SPL7013; HIV; virucidal activity
16.  Spirodiketopiperazine-Based CCR5 Inhibitor Which Preserves CC-Chemokine/CCR5 Interactions and Exerts Potent Activity against R5 Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 In Vitro 
Journal of Virology  2004;78(16):8654-8662.
We identified a novel spirodiketopiperazine (SDP) derivative, AK602/ONO4128/GW873140, which specifically blocked the binding of macrophage inflammatory protein 1α (MIP-1α) to CCR5 with a high affinity (Kd of ≈3 nM), potently blocked human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) gp120/CCR5 binding and exerted potent activity against a wide spectrum of laboratory and primary R5 HIV-1 isolates, including multidrug-resistant HIV-1 (HIV-1MDR) (50% inhibitory concentration values of 0.1 to 0.6 nM) in vitro. AK602 competitively blocked the binding to CCR5 expressed on Chinese hamster ovary cells of two monoclonal antibodies, 45523, directed against multidomain epitopes of CCR5, and 45531, specific against the C-terminal half of the second extracellular loop (ECL2B) of CCR5. AK602, despite its much greater anti-HIV-1 activity than other previously published CCR5 inhibitors, including TAK-779 and SCH-C, preserved RANTES (regulated on activation normal T-cell expressed and secreted) and MIP-1β binding to CCR5+ cells and their functions, including CC-chemokine-induced chemotaxis and CCR5 internalization, while TAK-779 and SCH-C fully blocked the CC-chemokine/CCR5 interactions. Pharmacokinetic studies revealed favorable oral bioavailability in rodents. These data warrant further development of AK602 as a potential therapeutic for HIV-1 infection.
PMCID: PMC479103  PMID: 15280474
17.  Discovery of Small-Molecule Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Entry Inhibitors That Target the gp120-Binding Domain of CD4†  
Journal of Virology  2005;79(10):6122-6133.
The interaction between human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) gp120 and the CD4 receptor is highly specific and involves relatively small contact surfaces on both proteins according to crystal structure analysis. This molecularly conserved interaction presents an excellent opportunity for antiviral targeting. Here we report a group of pentavalent antimony-containing small molecule compounds, NSC 13778 (molecular weight, 319) and its analogs, which exert a potent anti-HIV activity. These compounds block the entry of X4-, R5-, and X4/R5-tropic HIV-1 strains into CD4+ cells but show little or no activity in CD4-negative cells or against vesicular stomatitis virus-G pseudotyped virions. The compounds compete with gp120 for binding to CD4: either immobilized on a solid phase (soluble CD4) or on the T-cell surface (native CD4 receptor) as determined by a competitive gp120 capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay or flow cytometry. NSC 13778 binds to an N-terminal two-domain CD4 protein, D1/D2 CD4, immobilized on a surface plasmon resonance sensor chip, and dose dependently reduces the emission intensity of intrinsic tryptophan fluorescence of D1/D2 CD4, which contains two of the three tryptophan residues in the gp120-binding domain. Furthermore, T cells incubated with the compounds alone show decreased reactivity to anti-CD4 monoclonal antibodies known to recognize the gp120-binding site. In contrast to gp120-binders that inhibit gp120-CD4 interaction by binding to gp120, these compounds appear to disrupt gp120-CD4 contact by targeting the specific gp120-binding domain of CD4. NSC 13778 may represent a prototype of a new class of HIV-1 entry inhibitors that can break into the gp120-CD4 interface and mask the gp120-binding site on the CD4 molecules, effectively repelling incoming virions.
PMCID: PMC1091715  PMID: 15857997
18.  Unique Ligand Binding Sites on CXCR4 Probed by a Chemical Biology Approach: Implications for the Design of Selective Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Inhibitors 
Journal of Virology  2005;79(24):15398-15404.
The chemokine receptor CXCR4 plays an important role as the receptor for the normal physiological function of stromal cell-derived factor 1α (SDF-1α) and the coreceptor for the entry of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) into the cell. In a recent work (S. Tian et al., J. Virol. 79:12667-12673, 2005), we found that many residues throughout CXCR4 transmembrane (TM) and extracellular loop 2 domains are specifically involved in interaction with HIV-1 gp120, as most of these sites did not play a role in either SDF-1α binding or signaling. These results provided direct experimental evidence for the distinct functional sites on CXCR4 for HIV-1 and the normal ligand SDF-1α. To further understand the CXCR4-ligand interaction and to develop new CXCR4 inhibitors to block HIV-1 entry, we have recently generated a new family of unnatural chemokines, termed synthetically and modularly modified (SMM) chemokines, derived from the native sequence of SDF-1α or viral macrophage inflammatory protein II (vMIP-II). These SMM chemokines contain various de novo-designed sequence replacements and substitutions by d-amino acids and display more enhanced CXCR4 selectivity, binding affinities, and/or anti-HIV activities than natural chemokines. Using these novel CXCR4-targeting SMM chemokines as receptor probes, we conducted ligand binding site mapping experiments on a panel of site-directed mutants of CXCR4. Here, we provide the first experimental evidence demonstrating that SMM chemokines interact with many residues on CXCR4 TM and extracellular domains that are important for HIV-1 entry, but not SDF-1α binding or signaling. The preferential overlapping in the CXCR4 binding residues of SMM chemokines with HIV-1 over SDF-1α illustrates a mechanism for the potent HIV-1 inhibition by these SMM chemokines. The discovery of distinct functional sites or conformational states influenced by these receptor sites mediating different functions of the natural ligand versus the viral or synthetic ligands has important implications for drug discovery, since the sites shared by SMM chemokines and HIV-1 but not by SDF-1α can be targeted for the development of selective HIV-1 inhibitors devoid of interference with normal SDF-1α function.
PMCID: PMC1316031  PMID: 16306611
19.  Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Heparan Sulfate: From Attachment to Entry Inhibition 
By targeting cells that provide protection against infection, HIV-1 causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Infection starts when gp120, the viral envelope glycoprotein, binds to CD4 and to a chemokine receptor usually CCR5 or CXCR4. As many microorganisms, HIV-1 also interacts with heparan sulfate (HS), a complex group of cell surface associated anionic polysaccharides. It has been thought that this binding, occurring at a step prior to CD4 recognition, increases infectivity by pre-concentrating the virion particles at the cell surface. Early work, dating from before the identification of CCR5 and CXCR4, showed that a variety of HS mimetics bind to the gp120 V3 loop through electrostatic interactions, compete with cell surface associated HS to bind the virus and consequently, neutralize the infectivity of a number of T-cell line-adapted HIV-1 strains. However, progress made to better understand HIV-1 attachment and entry, coupled with the recent identification of additional gp120 regions mediating HS recognition, have considerably modified this view. Firstly, the V3 loop from CXCR4-using viruses is much more positively charged compared to those using CCR5. HS inhibition of cell attachment is thus restricted to CXCR4-using viruses (such as T-cell line-adapted HIV-1). Secondly, studies aiming at characterizing the gp120/HS complex revealed that HS binding was far more complex than previously thought: in addition to the V3 loop of CXCR4 tropic gp120, HS interacts with several other cryptic areas of the protein, which can be induced upon CD4 binding, and are conserved amongst CCR5 and CXCR4 viruses. In view of these data, this review will detail the present knowledge on HS binding to HIV-1, with regards to attachment and entry processes. It will discuss the perspective of targeting the gp120 co-receptor binding site with HS mimetic compounds, a strategy that recently gave rise to entry inhibitors that work in the low nanomolar range, independently of co-receptor usage.
PMCID: PMC3834540  PMID: 24312095
heparan sulfate; glycosaminoglycan; CCR5/CXCR4; gp120; V3 loop; co-receptor binding site; HIV-1; attachment and entry inhibition
20.  Comprehensive Cross-Clade Neutralization Analysis of a Panel of Anti-Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Monoclonal Antibodies 
Journal of Virology  2004;78(23):13232-13252.
Broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) are potentially important tools in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccine design. A few rare MAbs have been intensively studied, but we still have a limited appreciation of their neutralization breadth. Using a pseudovirus assay, we evaluated MAbs from clade B-infected donors and a clade B HIV+ plasma against 93 viruses from diverse backgrounds. Anti-gp120 MAbs exhibited greater activity against clade B than non-B viruses, whereas anti-gp41 MAbs exhibited broad interclade activity. Unexpectedly, MAb 4E10 (directed against the C terminus of the gp41 ectodomain) neutralized all 90 viruses with moderate potency. MAb 2F5 (directed against an epitope adjacent to that of 4E10) neutralized 67% of isolates, but none from clade C. Anti-gp120 MAb b12 (directed against an epitope overlapping the CD4 binding site) neutralized 50% of viruses, including some from almost every clade. 2G12 (directed against a high-mannose epitope on gp120) neutralized 41% of the viruses, but none from clades C or E. MAbs to the gp120 V3 loop, including 447-52D, neutralized a subset of clade B viruses (up to 45%) but infrequently neutralized other clades (≤7%). MAbs b6 (directed against the CD4 binding site) and X5 (directed against a CD4-induced epitope of gp120) neutralized only sensitive primary clade B viruses. The HIV+ plasma neutralized 70% of the viruses, including some from all major clades. Further analysis revealed five neutralizing immunotypes that were somewhat associated with clades. As well as the significance for vaccine design, our data have implications for passive-immunization studies in countries where clade C viruses are common, given that only MAbs b12 and 4E10 were effective against viruses from this clade.
PMCID: PMC524984  PMID: 15542675
21.  Activity and Safety of Synthetic Lectins Based on Benzoboroxole-Functionalized Polymers for Inhibition of HIV Entry 
Molecular pharmaceutics  2011;8(6):2465-2475.
Lectins derived from plant and microbial sources constitute a vital class of entry inhibitors that target the oligomannose residues on the HIV envelope gp120. Despite their potency and specificity, success of lectin-based entry inhibitors may be impeded by issues in regards to economical production, formulation and potential mitogenicity. Therefore, there exists a gap in the HIV therapeutics pipeline that underscores the need for mass producible, synthetic, broad-spectrum, and biocomptabile inhibitors of HIV entry. Here, we present the development of a polymeric synthetic lectin, based on benzoboroxole (BzB), which exhibits weak affinity (~25 M−1) for non-reducing sugars, similar to those found on the HIV envelope. High molecular weight BzB-functionalized polymers demonstrated antiviral activity that increased with an increase in ligand density and molecular weight of the polymer construct; revealing that polyvalency improves activity. Polymers showed significant increase in activity from 25 to 75 mol% BzB functionalization with EC50 of 15 μM and 15 nM, respectively. A further increase in mole functionalization to 90% resulted in an increase of the EC50 (59 ± 5 nM), likely due to the elongated rigid structure of the polymer chain compelled by electrostatic repulsion between the boronic acid groups. An increase in molecular weight of the polymer at 50 mol% BzB functionalization showed a gradual but significant increase in antiviral activity, with the highest activity seen with the 382 kDa polymer (EC50 of 1.1 ± 0.5 nM in CEM cells and 11 ± 3 nM in TZM-bl cells). Supplementing the polymer backbone with 10 mol% sulfonic acid not only increased the aqueous solubility of the polymers by at least 50-fold, but also demonstrated a synergistic increase in anti-HIV activity (4.0 ± 1.5 nM in TZM-bl cells), possibly due to electrostatic interactions between the negatively charged polymer backbone and the positively charged V3-loop in the gp120. The benzoboroxole-sulfonic acid copolymers showed no decrease in activity in the presence of a seminal concentration of fructose (p > 0.05). Additionally, the co-polymers exhibit minimal, if any effect on the cellular viability, barrier properties, or cytokine levels in human reconstructed ecto-cervical tissue after 3 days of repeated exposure and did not show pronounced activity against a variety of other RNA and DNA viruses.
PMCID: PMC3445258  PMID: 21879735
Synthetic lectins; benzoboroxole; polyvalency; entry inhibitor; HIV
22.  Crystal Structure and Size-Dependent Neutralization Properties of HK20, a Human Monoclonal Antibody Binding to the Highly Conserved Heptad Repeat 1 of gp41 
PLoS Pathogens  2010;6(11):e1001195.
The human monoclonal antibody (mAb) HK20 neutralizes a broad spectrum of primary HIV-1 isolates by targeting the highly conserved heptad repeat 1 (HR1) of gp41, which is transiently exposed during HIV-1 entry. Here we present the crystal structure of the HK20 Fab in complex with a gp41 mimetic 5-Helix at 2.3 Å resolution. HK20 employs its heavy chain CDR H2 and H3 loops to bind into a conserved hydrophobic HR1 pocket that is occupied by HR2 residues in the gp41 post fusion conformation. Compared to the previously described HR1-specific mAb D5, HK20 approaches its epitope with a different angle which might favor epitope access and thus contribute to its higher neutralization breadth and potency. Comparison of the neutralization activities of HK20 IgG, Fab and scFv employing both single cycle and multiple cycle neutralization assays revealed much higher potencies for the smaller Fab and scFv over IgG, implying that the target site is difficult to access for complete antibodies. Nevertheless, two thirds of sera from HIV-1 infected individuals contain significant titers of HK20-inhibiting antibodies. The breadth of neutralization of primary isolates across all clades, the higher potencies for C-clade viruses and the targeting of a distinct site as compared to the fusion inhibitor T-20 demonstrate the potential of HK20 scFv as a therapeutic tool.
Author Summary
The HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein composed of the receptor binding subunit gp120 and the fusion protein gp41 is the prime target for neutralizing antibodies. Receptor binding induces a conformational change in gp41 that transiently exposes the conserved heptad repeat 1 (HR1) region. We have previously isolated the human HR1-specific mAb HK20 and provide now the structural basis for epitope recognition. HK20 employs mainly its CDR H2 and H3 for binding similar to HR1 binding of mAb D5. We demonstrate that HK20 and D5 bind HR1 with similar affinities; however, HK20 has a broader neutralization breadth than D5, which might be due to the differences in their approach angles of epitope recognition. Competition analyses of 33 sera from HIV-1 infected individuals reveal significant titers of HK20-inhibiting antibodies in 20 cases, confirming the immunogenicity of the epitope. We demonstrate further that HK20 IgG have limited neutralization breadth and potency while smaller HK20 Fabs and scFv reveal a broad cross clade neutralization breadth. This suggests that the accessibility of the HR1 epitope limits the value of HR1 mAbs for infection prevention, but highlights the importance of smaller versions such Fabs or scFv to combat infection alone or in synergistic approaches with other antivirals.
PMCID: PMC2987821  PMID: 21124990
23.  Combinations of 3-Hydroxyphthalic Anhydride-modified Ovalbumin with Antiretroviral Drug-based Microbicide Candidates Display Synergistic and Complementary Effects against HIV-1 Infection 
The development of a safe, effective, and affordable combination microbicide to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV combination is urgently needed. Our previous studies demonstrated that 3-hydroxyphthalic anhydride-modified chicken ovalbumin (HP-OVA) exhibited potent antiviral activity against a broad spectrum of HIV, simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) and herpes simplex virus (HSV), making it a promising candidate as a component of combination microbicide. Here we intended to evaluate potential synergistic anti-HIV-1 effect of HP-OVA in combinations with antiretroviral drug (ARV)-based microbicide candidates.
The antiviral activity of HP-OVA and the ARVs, including HIV-1 entry inhibitors (T20, C52L, NB64, NBD556, AMD3100 and Maraviroc) and reverse transcriptase inhibitors (Tenofovir, UC781 and TMC120), tested alone or in combination, against HIV-1 X4 and R5 viruses, including some drug-resistant strains, was determined in MT-2 and peripheral blood mononuclear cells using p24 assay. The immune responses induced by HP-OVA that was applied in the vaginas of rats were detected by ELISA.
When each of these ARV-based microbicide candidates was combined with HP-OVA, synergistic activity was observed against infection by both X4 and R5 strains, and the degree of synergy differed in each case. HP-OVA was highly effective against several ARV-resistant HIV-1 strains, suggesting that combining HP-OVA with these ARV-based microbicide candidates might work cooperatively against both drug-sensitive and resistant HIV-1 strains. Human body fluids and human proteins had little or no effects on HP-OVA-mediated inhibitory activity against HIV-1 infection. HP-OVA formulated in the universal gel maintained its antiviral activity for at least one month and only induced weak immune responses after its multiple applications in the vaginas of rats.
Synergistic and complementary effects against infection by a broad spectrum of HIV-1 strains were observed by combining HP-OVA with the ARV-based microbicide candidates. These findings provide a sound scientific platform for the development of a safe, effective and affordable combination microbicide to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV and other sexually transmissible viruses.
PMCID: PMC3084366  PMID: 21239999
HIV; 3-hydroxyphthalic anhydride-modified chicken ovalbumin; synergism; antiretroviral drug-based microbicides
24.  Multiple Antiviral Activities of Cyanovirin-N: Blocking of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 gp120 Interaction with CD4 and Coreceptor and Inhibition of Diverse Enveloped Viruses 
Journal of Virology  2000;74(10):4562-4569.
Cyanovirin-N (CV-N) is a cyanobacterial protein with potent neutralizing activity against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). CV-N has been shown to bind HIV type 1 (HIV-1) gp120 with high affinity; moreover, it blocks the envelope glycoprotein-mediated membrane fusion reaction associated with HIV-1 entry. However, the inhibitory mechanism(s) remains unclear. In this study, we show that CV-N blocked binding of gp120 to cell-associated CD4. Consistent with this, pretreatment of gp120 with CV-N inhibited soluble CD4 (sCD4)-dependent binding of gp120 to cell-associated CCR5. To investigate possible effects of CV-N at post-CD4 binding steps, we used an assay that measures sCD4 activation of the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein for fusion with CCR5-expressing cells. CV-N displayed equivalently potent inhibitory effects when added before or after sCD4 activation, suggesting that CV-N also has blocking action at the level of gp120 interaction with coreceptor. This effect was shown not to be due to CV-N-induced coreceptor down-modulation after the CD4 binding step. The multiple activities against the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein prompted us to examine other enveloped viruses. CV-N potently blocked infection by feline immunodeficiency virus, which utilizes the chemokine receptor CXCR4 as an entry receptor but is CD4 independent. CV-N also inhibited fusion and/or infection by human herpesvirus 6 and measles virus but not by vaccinia virus. Thus, CV-N has broad-spectrum antiviral activity, both for multiple steps in the HIV entry mechanism and for diverse enveloped viruses. This broad specificity has implications for potential clinical utility of CV-N.
PMCID: PMC111976  PMID: 10775592
25.  Phosphorothioate Oligonucleotides Inhibit Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Fusion by Blocking gp41 Core Formation 
Several studies have shown that phosphorothioate oligodeoxynucleotides (PS-ONs) have a sequence-independent antiviral activity against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). It has also been suggested that PS-ONs inhibit HIV-1 by acting as attachment inhibitors that bind to the V3 loop of gp120 and prevent the gp120-CD4 interaction. Here we show that PS-ONs (and their fully 2′-O-methylated derivatives) are potent inhibitors of HIV-1-mediated membrane fusion and HIV-1 replication in a size-dependent, phosphorothioation-dependent manner. PS-ONs interact with a peptide derived from the N-terminal heptad repeat region of gp41, and the HIV-1 fusion-inhibitory activity of PS-ONs is closely correlated with their ability to block gp41 six-helix bundle formation, a critical step during the process of HIV-1 fusion with the target cell. These results suggest that the increased hydrophobicity of PS-ONs may contribute to their inhibitory activity against HIV-1 fusion and entry, because longer PS-ONs (≥30 bases) which have a greater hydrophobicity are more potent in blocking the hydrophobic interactions involved in the gp41 six-helix bundle formation and inhibiting the HIV-1-mediated cell-cell fusion than shorter PS-ONs (<30 bases). This novel antiviral mechanism of action of long PS-ONs has implications for therapy against infection by HIV-1 and other enveloped viruses with type I fusion proteins.
PMCID: PMC1426958  PMID: 16569857

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